Swapit Air: April Fool’s (for now)

swapit-blog_skydroneYes, our Swapit Air announcement on April 1st was an April Fool’s Day joke. We had a lot of fun with it! 🙂

To be very clear: We do not have a drone fleet nor have we launched any such service in Hong Kong.

I would like to point out that the feedback we received over the last couple of days has been very very good. If we would have actually launched Swapit Air, we would have gotten a lot of media coverage.

Thanks a lot to the great folks at Sky Drone who played along well in our April Fool’s Day joke.

To be honest: Even though, it sounds futuristic or as some put it “too good to be true“, from a technological point of view, Swapit Air is doable. However, from a regulatory point of view, it is challenging to launch such a service. Most countries in the world have no legal framework to either allow or properly regulate such services. However, if you are interested in drone technology – especially for command & control and video transmission over extremely long / beyond-line-of-sight range – please do reach out to the Sky Drone team. They’d be happy to help you out and get you up and running in no time.

img_peak_swapit_iconsTHOUGHTS ON DRONE DELIVERY

During the process of thinking about Swapit Air, writing the press release, composing the blog post and creating the artwork, I more and more realized that Hong Kong would actually be a perfect place for launching drone delivery.

There are several structural challenges in most other countries, which Hong Kong does not have due to the places people’s homes are located at. Let me point some of those factors out. My secret hope is, that the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department CAD is reading this.

  1. Building Proximity
    Due to the fact that Hong Kong is the #2 city in the world with most high-rise buildings and they are all in very close proximity to each other, flight time between two buildings would be really short. That means less energy (=electricity) and less delivery time is needed, which drives down costs significantly. A short delivery time also warrants for a superior customer experience.
  2. Population Density
    High population density means, that by servicing just one building, up to a thousand people could be connected to a drone delivery network. That’s very cost efficient and provides a stellar public service.
  3. Empty Roofs
    Usually, building roofs in Hong Kong are not utilized. They are mostly reserved for maintenance equipment, air-conditioning and as fire escape locations. Though, I am not sure if it’s wise to be trapped at the roof of a 60 story building when all the floors below are on fire. Yet, in an every-day scenario, those rooftops are just sitting there empty. Hong Kong landlords are all about maximizing rental income. You can see that by every other roof hosting network cells of mobile carriers, which the landlords collect rent for. So deploying drone landing and launchpads at those roofs as well, would extend their purpose and increase rental income of landlords.
  4. Easy Flight Paths
    Using roofs as take off and landing locations for drones, removes a lot of obstacles urban environments in big area countries have. The drone could just take off vertically and climb to an altitude of say 50 meters above the tallest building in the city. Then it flies directly to the destination building and vertically descents to land on the landing pad to drop the parcel. It’s a simple take off, fly a straight line and land scenario, which could be done ensuring high safety standards and short traveling and transport times. In other countries, drones would have to land at a different landing spot for every single customer / parcel destination. That creates an incredible about of possible scenarios such drone deliveries would need to be able to handle. Imagine simple things like landing in the front yard of a house where the kid left his or her skateboard at. Such unexpected conditions make it near impossible to operate a safe and cost-efficient service.

So never say never. We might just announce a service like Swapit Air in future. It is now at least clear that people love the idea and are interested in using it. So stay tuned into our Swapit blog. We’ll for sure post some more exciting and real-live innovation very soon!


Have you tried Swapit yet? Even without Swapit Air, it’s the best marketplace to buy and sell pre-loved and new products. Download is free: http://get.swapit.la/now

Introducing Swapit Air: Drone Delivery in Hong Kong for Preloved and New Products

Note: This was our April Fool’s Day joke on April 1st, 2017. Read the clarification blog post here: Swapit Air: April Fool’s (for now)

Download:
Swapit Air Press Release

Today, Swapit proudly announces the world’s first commercial drone delivery service: Swapit Air. In its pilot phase, it is be available all across Hong Kong. Starting on Monday April 3rd, parcels can be delivered door-to-door or better roof-to-roof using our now fully established drone station network with hundreds of locations all over Hong Kong.

SWAPIT AIR INTRO

HOW IT WORKS

On the Swapit mobile app, buyers who purchase an item from a seller can now book a delivery of the item via drone. You can choose to deliver it to your home or work location.  The seller then drops the product off one of our hundreds of drone delivery stations. A Swapit Air delivery drone knows automatically which parcel it is and where it should be delivered to. The drone takes off and within max. 10 minutes, the item arrives at the buyer’s building.

Here is how our drones looks like:

Currently the maximum delivery envelope of a parcel is 15x15x15 cm. We will soon extend that through an upgrade of our fleet and expect full operation with hundreds of drones flying over Hong Kong by the end of 2017.

SWAPIT AIR DRONE FLEET TECH SPECS

command-controlEach Swapit Air drone consists of a carbon fiber body, arms and rotor blades. They come with very durable characteristics and yet are lightweight. The autopilot in Swapit Air drones is based on the open-source PX4 autopilot which has been field tested for many years. Low-latency command & control channel is provided by Sky Drone solutions and operates on MAVLink / UART interfaces on the drone-side as well as local TCP-servers on our Swapit Air ground control center. In case of any emergency, a remote Swapit Air drone operator in our ground control center can take over control of the drone and fly it to safety.

WHERE ARE THE LOCATIONS

The Swapit app offers a full list of drone delivery locations. To find a location near you, please download Swapit from: http://get.swapit.la/now

Some of the most popular drone stations are located on roof tops of famous buildings like the International Commercial Centre, Hopewell Centre and more. Have a look:

img_peak_swapit_icons

Swapit Air drone locations are already deployed at hundreds of buildings, but the number of buildings will be extended within and with a target of covering around 1,000 buildings across Hong Kong. Building owners who would like to participate, may contact us directly.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST

In our pilot phase, drone delivery is free-of-charge. Eventually, we will charge a delivery fee for Swapit Air, but it will be at very competitive prices compared to local courier and parcel services. As there is minimal manual labour involved and the entire Swapit Air architecture has been automated and our drones are flying in full autonomous mode, delivery charges can be at very low rates compared to existing traditional surface delivery.

COLLABORATING ON INNOVATION

swapit-blog_skydroneThis cutting edge technology was developed in collaboration with Sky Drone – a leading drone technology company. Sky Drone’s unique technology of connecting drones with ground control stations, with each other and with their Skynet cloud, using 4G / LTE technology, allows Swapit to fly drones remotely beyond line of sight in a secure and reliable way. Military-grade encryption of such data channels and controls, ensures secure communication and reliable operation of our Swapit Air drone fleet.

Going to infinity and beyond!

Upgrade Swapit today to unlock Swapit Air for you!
Free Download: http://get.swapit.la/now

Sign up on our website to get updated when Swapit Air launches in your city: http://www.swapit.la/#swapit-air


About Sky Drone:
Parcel drone delivery, non-line-of-sight flights, remote drone control from anywhere in the world and similar technologies are available already. Sky Drone does provide high-end solutions in that field and everyone who is interested to find out more, please contact ASky Drone directly.